Barclays Bank Is No Longer Sponsoring Download Festival

Barclays Bank Is No Longer Sponsoring Download Festival

- By Ramon Gonzales

The move comes in the wake of several bands cancelling in protest, including Scowl, ZULU, Speed, Pest Control and more.

After a turbulent week for Download Festival which saw a handful of bands in Scowl, ZULU, Speed, Ithaca, and Pest Control pull out of the event in protest over Barclays Bank serving as a prominent sponsor, that relationship has now been suspended. 

Prompted by UK thrash crossover band Pest Control announcing they would be bowing out, a subsequent succession of bands announced they would not be performing due to the fest's partnership with Barclays Bank. Citing the bank's investments in weapons and tech used in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the previously mentioned bands expressed their unwillingness to participate given the gravity of the situation. 

Additionally, bands like Dying Wish and Enter Shikari would share the same sentiment, calling for action in separating the festival from a sponsor that had a financial interest in the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. 

It has since been announced that the 2024 edition of Download Festival will no longer have Barclays Bank on as a sponsor. In fact, the suspension of the partnership between Barclays Bank and a handful of Live Nation-supported fests has now been put on ice with Barclays now out of the 2024 installments of Isle of Wight and Latitude as well. 

In a statement shared with the BBC, a Live Nation spokeperson siad, "Following discussion with artists, we have agreed with Barclays that they will step back from sponsorship of our festivals." While this does not apply to the entire slate of festivals spanning the course of the five year deal penned in 2023, this does have a direct impact on Download and the previously mentioned events. 

The fallout from the protest has since seen some branches of the bank targeted by protestors, which have resulted in reports of vandalism and intimidation of staff. 

A spokesperson for Barclays commented on the decision to pull out of Download with the BCC, "Barclays was asked and has agreed to suspend participation in the remaining Live Nation festivals in 2024."

The spokesperson added, "Barclays customers who hold tickets to these festivals are not affected and their tickets remain valid. The protesters’ agenda is to have Barclays debank defence companies which is a sector we remain committed to as an essential part of keeping this country and our allies safe." 

The spokesperson also finished with the following, "The only thing that this small group of activists will achieve is to weaken essential support for cultural events enjoyed by millions. "It is time that leaders across politics, business, academia and the arts stand united against this."



Among the artists to react to the news, Enter Shikari have taken to their socials to urge for more civil discourse and collective action - citing this as win earned secured through diplomacy. "Big ups Download and Bands Boycott Barclays, who both engaged with us in a calm and considered manner while this was being resolved," Enter Shikari stated. "This is what we can achieve when we work together instead of dividing ourselves with attempts at moral purity. There are many understandable positions on this, don't be malicious and don't be divided. It does not help the cause."

Artist like Tom Morello have also offered their take and urged the importance of collective action. “A bank funding war crimes has no place at music festivals. The fact that Download has listened to its musicians and cut ties with Barclays Bank is a testament to the power of artists taking collective action for human rights. I’ve been pushing hard for this behind the scenes for some time and I salute all the artists who have taken a stand to help make this historic withdrawal happen.”




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